Wonk’s Saturday Reads: Remembering Griswold and Anne Royall

1920's Japanese advert for tea suitable for pregnant and nursing women. Apparently it was also good for colds!

Morning news junkies… here are my picks from the week to go with your Saturday morning cuppa. Enjoy.

(the Anne Royall stuff is at the end!)

Women’s Rights

I loved this headline from RH Reality Check’s Andrea Grimes, so I’ll start off with it — “The Pill Kills” Protesters Unwittingly Help Hundreds of North Texans Get Contraception. Last Saturday, about a 100 American Life League (ALL) activists gathered outside a Dallas Planned Parenthood to protest birth control pills for “killing” marriage, babies, and women, using all kinds of lame canards, including feigning concern for women’s health of all things (see the link for details, it’s just too laughable to repeat.) In turn, Planned Parenthood of North Texas asked supporters to donate money for every control freak that showed up to ALL’s protest. More than 600 women will get free pills thanks to the anti-choicers going right off the cliff with their neverending campaign against women, which I’m convinced is the oligarchy’s “gateway drug” to controlling the rest of the 99 percenters. What a way to honor the anniversary of Griswold, too.

Via the American Prospect… Reading between the Rights:

Nearly 50 years after Griswold v. Connecticut, conservatives think the Constitution protects your privacy.

This week marks the 46th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court reproductive-rights case Griswold v. Connecticut […] Despite the permanent entrenchment of the right to privacy in American constitutionalism, the reproductive rights that Griswold helped to expand are now under siege. Protecting the reproductive rights of American women, in particular, will require determined action in all branches of federal and state government. Progressives should begin by defending the rights announced in Griswold unapologetically. The Court was right 45 years ago, and the rights it articulated in that case are worth preserving.

Taylor Marsh has a great piece up on this as well that she crossposted over at The Moderate Voice under the title “Thank the Gods for Griswold v. Connecticut“:

That Speaker Pelosi, the first female speaker in U.S. history, and Pres. Obama helped Democrats like Rep. Stupak marginalize women’s freedoms in the health care bill was breaking faith with women who helped elect these officials. When Obama doubled down to take funding away from the women of Washington, D.C. he made matters worse.

To teach Democrats a lesson, putting a Republican in the White House would simply hurt more women. However, the economics of the times, which hits women very hard, has taken our eyes off reproductive health care to the economy. The sad truth is we’re not getting equal attention from either big party who’ll be hawking their policies for 2012 and promising the moon.

Don’t believe Obama or the Republican nominee.

Precisely. I know I won’t.

Stem Cell & Heart Research

Next up… Encouraging news, via Reuters… Scientists show heart can repair itself, with help. The BBC has some good coverage as well:

You can read James Gallagher’s report on the breakthrough here, but the research raises the astonishing prospect that we might, one day, teach the human heart to repair itself. A new golden age of regenerative medicine now seems tantalisingly close.

From the British Heart Foundation, which is responsible for the research:

Our Associate Medical Director, Professor Jeremy Pearson, said:

“To repair a damaged heart is one of the holy grails of heart research. This groundbreaking study shows that adult hearts contain cells that, given the right stimulus, can mobilise and turn into new heart cells that might repair a damaged heart. The team have identified the crucial signals needed to make this happen.”

Also in related stem cell heart research news: Cytori Reports Sustained Benefits at 18 Months in Cardiac Cell Therapy Heart Attack Trial (press release, via Reuters).

2012/Politics Reads

I found this next one interesting, even if it has no impact on anything… LA Times: Democrat Michael Dukakis, who didn’t get to be president, wishes the same for GOP’s Mitt Romney. Here’s what Dukakis said on CNN when Eliot Spitzer asked him if there was anyone amongst the GOP slate he could respect:

DUKAKIS: Yes, John Huntsman. I have a lot of respect for him. I don’t want him to be the president, I want the current president to be re-elected, but I have a lot of respect for Huntsman.

I’m really not sure why he wants a “Democratic” president who won’t fight for jobs to be re-elected, other than it’s the politically correct thing for a Democratic partisan to say of course, but speaking of Huntsman… According to a Politico report on his “no-names strategy,” Huntsman and Obama have an agreement not to attack each other personally by name, at least for now.

If Huntsman were to end up putting his hat in for 2012, I wonder how long he could actually last the GOP primary cycle without referring overtly to the incumbent President. Especially in the debates.

In other 2012 developments: The bad news about Newt’s campaign falling apart is that it’s giving the “Rick Perry for president” peanut gallery more to yap about. All I can say is if Goodhair runs in 2012… eesh, that’s too scary to even contemplate. If you’re looking for a short horror story to read this morning, look no further than the Wapo’s piece on Perry weighing a candidacy this go-around, which came out before the Perry people abandoned the sinking Gingrich ship:

Perry has been a virtual crusader against what he calls an increasingly intrusive federal government and a defender of the states to run their own affairs.

The legislative priorities in Texas as of late have been forced sonograms, guns on campus, tax breaks for yachts, etc. The Austin Chronicle has called what just transpired in our legislature the Worst. Session. Ever. Not a state government record to be bragging about, and far from fighting governmental intrusion considering Perry’s declaration of an “emergency” priority for anti-abortion legislation. Keep in mind, too, that Perry is the guy trying to pray the national debt and natural disasters away and elevating hate groups to carry out such nonsense…

Perry‘s Day of Fundie Bullshit

From the UT Austin schoolpaper — Perry’s proclamation draws national attention, incites criticism from non-Christians:

Gov. Rick Perry is attracting national attention after organizing “The Response: A Day of Prayer and Fasting” to deal with a nation “in crisis.”

The daylong “non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting” scheduled for Aug. 6 at Reliant Stadium in Houston is modeled after a ritual in the biblical Book of Joel, according to a press release. The American Family Association will cover the costs of the event, a move that has raised alarm from the Secular Coalition of America.

Sean Faircloth, executive director of the Secular Coalition of America, said the civil rights firm Southern Poverty Law Center designated the American Family Association as a hate group in 2010.

“It is sad to see a governor pandering to the most extreme and hateful fundamentalist groups,” Faircloth said.

Earlier this week, Joyce Arnold did an excellent news diary about Perry’s prayer lunacy, as well.

Normally I try to ignore stupid religionist pet tricks of this nature, because there’s always that fine line to walk in terms of making them more important than they are by paying them any attention, but I’ve really had it with this endless Christian Nation crap and their perpetual state of hate this time. It’s too much, and Perry’s involvement in all of this just stinks to high heaven. He should run for President of the American Taliban already, but then maybe that’s what running for POTUS is these days… Anyhow, the long and short of this being, I’m almost tempted to attend the August 6th protest and bring others with me if I can work it out:

Anybody that values the separation of Church and State is welcome to join — non-theists, non-Christian, secular Christians. Please be aware that we are NOT trying to convert or mock anybody’s religion,” the event’s page said.

Happy Pride

All LGBT voters and supporters, and all liberal constituencies of the Democratic party really, need to read Joyce’s post from last Saturday, “A Measure of Pride,” in honor of Pride month:

A photo on the “Winning the Future” LGBT website was taken on June 17, 2009, when Obama signed an executive order increasing benefits for Federal employees with same-gender partners. When I saved it for possible use, I noticed how it was tagged on the website: “lgbt hero image.” That, apparently, is how the O campaign is measuring their pride in accomplishments for Queerdom, at “hero” heights.

I tend to measure accomplishments, and pride in accomplishments, by way of employment non-discrimination protection; housing protection; marriage equality; the end of DADT discharges while the repeal process plays out; prosecution of hate crimes; LGBT kids free to go to proms, protected from bullying … things like that. And more often than not, those I most admire and appreciate are the people – usually at the non-Insider level – who spend years and decades working to make such things happen. These people are the real heroes, the real standard for the measure of pride in being and living as who they are.

Don’t forget Joyce’s Queer Talk later today. I never miss it, and neither should you! (That link should update with her latest post up top whenever it goes up.)

How Did America Get Here

Over at foreignpolicy.com, Steve Walt has food for thought up on what’s ailing our political system and how we got here, which FP is previewing on its frontpage as “Fiddling with Weiners While Washington Burns”:

If we were facing an imminent threat of invasion, we’d be looking for our Lincolns, Marshalls, Roosevelts, and Eisenhowers, and we wouldn’t be wasting our time with the Palin circus, which is nothing more than a “reality TV” version of real politics. Back when another Great Depression was looming in 2009, you actually saw the political system work, precisely because even head-in-the-sand politicos dimly understood that we were in Big Trouble and needed to do something. But once that immediate crisis was over, it was back to gridlock and grandstanding as usual.

That’s because the crisis wasn’t over. The head “politico” himself just bailed out the big banks and told the American people to “sacrifice.”

It’s too bad Walt tags his post only with “Bush’s legacy.” Obama has been given enough time to “change Washington,” and one of the reasons the Palin reality show circus continues is precisely because Obama is not a Lincoln or a Roosevelt. Most of America was looking for a leader to come in and fix the mess Bush made. When there isn’t any meaningful alternative to the corporate welfare agenda facilitated by both the D and R parties, that’s all the more oxygen in the room left for Palin and her tribe, as well as Bachmann and hers, to suck up.

Don’t get me wrong. Palin and Bachmann would make horrible presidents. But, it’s weird to mention one of them in a post about where it all went wrong that says absolutely *nothing* directly about the sitting president of the United States or his personal contribution to this mess.

Well enough about the guys and gals who are failing us on the domestic stage. Yup, that’s a cue up for my reads on you-know-who.


Hillary and Huma: June 9, 2011, Abu Dhabi

John Kerry ’04 blogger Pamela Leavy over at the Democratic Daily had this to say on the rumor that Hillary is in talks to take over World Bank and subsequent pushback from Foggy Bottom and the White House:

There has never been a woman in charge of the World Bank. Maybe it’s time and who better than Hillary Clinton. Of course, it’s a story that wasn’t, so the speculation is just that. Speculation.

Leavey also noted this on the Kerry-to-succeed-Hillary angle:

Kerry of course would make a phenomenal Secretary of State, but his staff has always squelched those rumors as well.

I don’t know whether Hillary is angling for the World Bank spot or not, but Kerry’s been angling for that SecState spot for what seems like forever now.

Via Jezebel, on Merkel’s photo to Hillary:

Presumably Merkel is trying to own the fact that a large daily in her country thought it was so interesting that two middle-aged women in public life might dress alike, or be shaped alike, or whatever.

But two can play this game. Look, it’s Obama and David Cameron! Except for that pesky American flag, they’re twins. Uncanny.


Alright, I’ve got some more links.

Here’s Hillary…

…laughing her heart out with Merkel at the luncheon where Merkel gifted Hillary the photo.

…attending the wedding of Andrea Catsimatidis And Christopher Nixon Cox last weekend.

…in more pictures of her looking elegant in Abu Dhabi. Click to see Still4Hill’s slideshow. (Reuters has more pics just of Huma Abedin smiling at the airport. Huma is an incredible woman.)

…wheeling down in Zambia yesterday. Stacy’s got some great photos up at the link.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton looks over products made by members of the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka, Zambia, Friday, June 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

…speaking informally to the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program:

Business is not an end in itself, it is a means to an end, to be able to educate children, to be able to have a better home, to be able to provide healthcare, to build economies and create more opportunities. And you are living examples of that.

…the action hero, via CNN political ticker…

(CNN) – Powerful. Popular. Able to leap between campaign battles and diplomatic landmines in a single pantsuit.

The latest modern day comic book hero is none other than Hillary Clinton, who is being profiled in a new political comic, “Political Power: Hillary Clinton.”


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wraps herself with chitenge material after she was presented with it by members of the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka, Zambia, Friday, June 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

Open Letter to Hillary Clinton from Ethiopia, By Eskinder Nega. I love these open letters to Madame Secretary from around the world (last week it was from women in Saudia Arabia)–it seems like a whole new avenue for political expression has been opened up! There’s just something “extra” in letters to Hillary that I can’t remember seeing in letters to other US officials in recent history–a sense of dialogue with someone these activists and journalists actually respect. Read the two I’ve linked to and see for yourself. A tiny snippet from Nega’s letter:

The story of Hilary Rodham Clinton is stirring, to say the least. I would be hard pressed to class it amongst conventional rags to riches narratives. While not classically rich, your father, Hugh Rodham, was neither a pauper in any sense of the word. I think the chronicle of your phenomenal rise to fame and prominence rather stands for the ideal absent in far too many countries, but not in the US: the early recognition of merit, its cultivation, and ultimate reward.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton claps as she is sung to by members of the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka, Zambia, Friday, June 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

That blurb may make you think it’s all a love letter to Hillary, and there is a huge serving of that in there, so all you Hillaristas out there need to click over if you haven’t already. The crux of Nega’s argument though is about imploring Secretary Clinton and the US not to make the same policy slip-up in Ethiopia that was made in Egypt:

The word on the street, unfairly I believe, is that Hilary favors old, violent autocrats over young, peaceful democrats. This would have had dire consequences for America’s already precarious reputation if not for the personal popularity of President Obama.

What’s funny is if you read through, the entire thing reads like Hillary’s the one who can change anything and Obama’s the one who’s just there to smile and look nice.

Today in Women’s History (June 11)

Anne Royall

1769: Anne Royall, Godmother of Muckraking, was born. From the link, which was published on Alternet right after the 2010 midterms (and was a reworking of an earlier post on Royall’s birthday in 2008):

She would have skewered the rising Tea Party phenomenon with her take-no-prisoners wit.

She would have lectured President Obama and his floundering Democrats for their electoral train wreck.

More importantly: Just as she did on the heels of the 1836 elections, with another speculative banking and economy crisis readying to explode and lead to our country to its first bonafide great depression, Anne Royall would have admonished our nation’s journalists and bloggers to expose the corruptive influence of money in politics.

In many respects, Anne Royall was our nation’s first blogger–the godmother of muckrakers whose wicked and insightful newspaper in the 1830s in Washington, DC serves as a compelling story of her pioneering role for contemporary women journalists, commentators and writers like Arianna Huffington, Rachel Maddow, Amy Goodman. Molly Ivins, Laura Flanders, Katrina vanden Heuvel and Maureen Dowd.

Somehow I’m having a hard time imagining Anne Royall writing the “Your Tweetin’ Heartcolumn that Maureen Dowd just wrote.

Well that’s it for me… what’s on your blogger’s plate this morning?

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Sky Dancing and Taylor Marsh]

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